Outrage after German defence ministry posts photo of Nazi uniform calling it ‘retro’

The Bundeswehr shared the snap of the coat bearing the chilling symbol of death on display at the Military History Museum in Dresden on Tuesday. The ministry accompanied it with a tasteless caption which read: “#fashion is also an aspect, and military stylistic elements have remained in #HauteCouture to this day.” A multi-coloured sticker which read “retro” was plastered across the picture of the uniform. 

Two iron crosses, the wounded badge of the Wehrmacht and an imperial eagle are clearly visible. 

All four badges and medals carry the swastika. 

Shortly after the Instagram story was uploaded a backlash ensued and the ministry was forced to apologise for offence caused. 

Minister of defence Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer and her office have been caught up in the social media scandal. 

When the ministry of defence was approached for comment by the German newspaper Bild, it quickly deleted the photo but issued no explanation for the poorly-judged upload. 

However shortly afterwards Bundeswehr spokesman Christian Thiels told reporters the post was “an unacceptable mistake for which we offer many, many apologies”. 

Bosses will now have a word with the employee who uploaded the story. 

Mr Thiels said the uniform was not worn by a Nazi soldier but was a Hollywood costume donned by Tom Cruise in the movie Valkyrie. 

The film’s plot centres a group of Nazi officers who devise a plan to assassinate Hitler. 

Former journalist Mr Thiels was recruited by the ministry last summer to promote the Bundeswehr online and make it more appealing to the youth.

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Only a week ago he published a guide for all soldiers and explained how they should use social media to “further improve the image of the employer Bundeswehr”. 

Germany’s Green Party politician Tobias Linder called on the ministry to produce a valid explanation about how exactly such a picture could have been deemed suitable for social media. 

Mr Linder said: “The Bundeswehr must immediately clarify how such a thing could be posted on their Instagram account.” 

Mrs Kramp-Karrenbauer’s predecessor Ursula von der Leyen had called on the military to root out right-wing extremism. 

In May 2017 she ordered an inspection of all army barracks was ordered after Nazi-era memorabilia were found in a garrison. 

The shocking discovery was made at a military training quarter in Donaueschingen, in southwest Germany. 

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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